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On the Eve of Disruption: Summit Keynote Will Explore How Digital Transformation Affects Nearly Every Industry

Posted By Michael J. Burke, Tuesday, April 7, 2020

“Disruption,” in addition to being a much-used term in the business press, is a two-edged sword: an exciting prospect if you’re the one doing the disrupting; not so much if your company or industry finds itself being disrupted and forced to scramble and adapt. Some disruptions may be temporary—as, we fervently hope, will be those spawned by COVID-19—while others are likely here to stay.

It’s these more lasting and far-reaching effects that will be the subject of a keynote address at the ASAP Global Alliance Summit, now scheduled for late June, to be given by Steve Steinhilber, global vice president of ecosystems and business development at Equinix. The presentation, titled “Creating Alliances and Digital Ecosystem Capabilities in an Increasingly Platform Enabled and Interconnected World,” will examine how the speed and scale of information technology growth and new global platforms will enable—and even necessitate—the digital transformation of nearly all businesses, creating many new business models in the process.

According to Steinhilber, the speed and rate of disruption varies by industry, but many existing value chains are already under significant disruptive threat. Industries that are “content sensitive or highly inefficient value chains” have already experienced this disruption, he said, as whole segments of the value chain have been eliminated. These industries include advertising, newspapers, movies, and retail, as well as the travel industry, including hotel bookings and other reservations services.

Others are either just starting out on this journey or find themselves somewhere in the middle. Steinhilber cited the automotive and transportation services industries as examples of verticals that are just beginning to experience the waves of change, while “all layers of the IT industry and also the satellite launch industry” are in the midst of ongoing disruption.

According to an IDC survey, by 2022—less than two years away—at least 60 percent of global GDP will be digitized, with growth in every industry driven by digitally enhanced offerings, operations, and relationships. And according to McKinsey, digital ecosystems will account for more than $60 trillion in revenue by 2025, or more than 30 percent of global corporate revenue. As we’ve seen—and if you haven’t already, check out our cover story on ecosystems in the Q1 2020 issue of Strategic Alliance Quarterly for more on this trend—these disruptive forces are enabled by an explosion of information technology delivered via platform-enabled companies monetized by new business models. These platform models are proving to be much more profitable than product pipeline business models, and also offer accelerated time to market for new products and services and create new ways to share the wealth. This has directly translated into massive growth in platform companies’ market capitalizations.

These new ecosystem- and platform-based models have significant implications for how partnering frameworks and practices are changing, said Steinhilber, requiring “a blend of both strategic, high-touch partner management as well as low-touch engagement via new tools and systems.” And as organizations as a whole struggle to adjust and adapt, today’s—and tomorrow’s—alliance and partnering professionals will need to change their ways, too.

“They’ll still need conventional strategic alliance skills in order to manage complex, highly strategic relationships,” Steinhilber said. “But they’ll also need to have the ability to build programmatic models to engage companies that are wanting to innovate on top of the platform. This means implementing new financial models such as revenue sharing, deploying tools to automate partner engagement and management, developing dashboards that can manage rapid scaling, and being able to ensure the quality of what partners are offering on your platform.”

Curious to learn more? Me too! Stay tuned for more information on this and other outstanding presentations to be offered at the upcoming ASAP Global Alliance Summit. 

Tags:  alliance  digital ecosystems  Digital Transformation  disruptive  ecosystem  engagement  Equinix  frameworks  IDC  IT industry  McKinsey  partner  partnering professionals  platform-based models  satellite launch industry  Steve Steinhilber  strategic relationships  value chains 

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Here’s to Another Alliance Launch

Posted By Michael J. Burke, Thursday, October 31, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Alliances win—and the profession of alliance management advances—when we partner together to meet the challenges ahead.

     In this “best of the past” issue of Strategic Alliance Quarterly, we’re actually embarking at the same time on a new voyage into the future. So I thought it would be a good idea to introduce—or reintroduce—myself to ASAP members and readers.

     It’s been my good fortune recently to be named editor in chief of this magazine and senior editorial consultant to ASAP. Some of you might remember me from my time editing and writing for what was then Strategic Alliance Magazine from its first issue in Q2 2011 until early 2014. I was also involved in editing the 2013 ASAP Handbook of Alliance Management: A Practitioner’s Guide, supporting the editorial team so skillfully led by Norma Watenpaugh, Ard-Pieter de Man, Dave Luvison, and others.

     My experience has largely been in the realms of writing and editing—copyediting, proofreading, and production editing for book publishers; and writing for and serving as editor or managing editor of a couple of quarterly magazines and one weekly newspaper. 

     Late last year I was thrilled to be asked to work with ASAP once again and write two (so far) updates to the Handbook: a supplement on IT partnering (completed) and another on biopharma alliances (in progress). Throughout the process of interviewing ASAP members and other alliance leaders for these supplements over the last few months, I was struck time and again by how knowledgeable, insightful, and far-seeing the members of this community are.

     These senior executives, consultants, researchers, and analysts drove home for me a number of important points. One is that alliance professionals need to transition from being merely “managers” who do what they’re told to leading as big-picture strategic visionaries who take an entrepreneurial view of partnering as they guide their alliances to fruition. Another is that they need to take responsibility for their own careers and take charge of their collaborations, working in multiple directions at once to educate and align senior leaders, get stakeholder buy-in, and achieve a sense of trust with partners, among other mission-critical activities.

     This is certainly easier said than done, and as one alliance leader told me, alliance managers typically end up “wearing many hats on one head,” accountable to people above and below them—not to mention laterally, in diverse functional areas—in their organization, as well as to their counterparts at partner companies.

In addition, these already busy, time-constrained folks somehow need to “see around corners” in their partnerships, their company, and their industry in order to know what’s coming next and help decide how their organizations—and their partnering strategies—will need to adjust, pivot, or even about-face to meet the challenges. This is especially true in the fast-moving world of technology partnering, but it applies as well to biopharma and practically any other sector you can name.

     As one IT industry analyst put it: “The whole world has blown up, and now it’s landing and settling. The head of alliances will be the most important person in any company in the next ten years. It’s going to create winners and losers, and complete disruption. But alliances win!”

     All the more reason for today’s companies to have not just an alliance management function, but a partnering strategy. More to the point, any corporate strategic vision should include partnering and alliances as part of the way business gets done, as a key route to competitive success in this age of ecosystems, complex supply chains, new markets, and ever more volatile conditions. The people and companies that can get that strategy nailed down and take it to market will be the most successful in a time of disruption.

     That, of course, is where ASAP comes in, drawing on the collective wisdom of its members in order to lead, educate, and set the agenda for the profession. I’m incredibly pleased to once more be partnering with ASAP in this endeavor, and as we launch our alliance, I invite you to be a part of it. Contact me anytime with article ideas and submissions, suggestions for blog posts or other content, and questions or comments about what we’re doing. And if you see me at BioPharma in Boston, the European Alliance Summit in Amsterdam, or next year’s Global Alliance Summit in Tampa, come up and say hello!

Michael J. Burke is editor in chief of Strategic Alliance Quarterly and senior editorial consultant to ASAP. He can be reached at mburke@strategic-alliances.org.

Tags:  alliance management advances  Alliances  Ard-Pieter de Man  big-picture strategic visionaries  BioPharma Conference  challenges ahead European Alliance Summit  Dave Luvison  Global Alliance Summit  IT industry  Norma Watenpaugh  partner  partnering strategy  profession  Strategic Alliance Quarterly 

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